After a slight pause with the reading, I have returned this week with another Lembani Trust publication - Kalonga Gawa Undi X : A Biography of an African Chief and Nationalist, by Walima T. Kalusa. It does exactly what it says on the tin - it provides a biographical account of the late Undi. It was fascinating reading about his contributions to the freedom struggle and how he became disillusioned with Kenneth Kaunda and Frederick Chiluba.
Many of the themes explored we have already touched them on both the House of Chiefs and this website. In particular, the central thesis of the book, which is that far from the predatory picture painted by Mamadani and others, Zambians chiefs steered a careful course and were not merely instruments of oppression. Undi was to all intents and purpose one of the fathers of modern independence, alongside Chief Mphanza. They used their traditional and financial muscle to steer the independence struggle pro-actively. See previous reflections on this post, which I hope to expand on in the future in light of this book.
This is the third Lembani book I have read - previous books here and here. Although I have enjoyed all the three books, and will prove useful sources of references, I was generally disappointed with their length. But as I have reflected it is certainly the right size for a Zambia audience. Its my view that a book 100 pages or so is more likely to be read than a 300 page volume. We don't exactly have a reading culture. So I hope Lembani continues to keep them that length. These books are a must read for all Zambians, especially the new generation born after 1980. However, the size does certainly mean that it would be counter productive to offer a lengthy review on it, along the lines I prefer. Just in case you have been wondering why they have not made the review list.
Books Read So Far : 9 books
Remaining Books to Achieve Target : 41 books
Weeks Remaining to Achieve Annual Target : 40 weeks